"First you say: "...it is people like Rabbi Avi Weiss and Yitz Greenberg who are so out of the mainstream that soon their brand of Orthodoxy will not be recognizable."
Then, you write, "The minute you tell me that my hashkafos are wrong and therefore everything I believe in must be discounted because they do not fit into your box, you throw everything that is great about our religion out of the window. "
You're perfectly comfortable with writing Avi Weiss out of Judaism, but you think it's such a travesty when black-hatters do it to you?!
Don't you realize that the same way that you view Avi Weiss is how they view you? How can you complain about what they're doing, when you are doing the exact same thing? Yes, I know you might say say that Avi Weiss is too far outside the confines of halacha, but then wouldn't they say the same thing about you? And wouldn't Avi Weiss say that he is within the parameters of halacha just like you would say to the Lakewooders?"
"As The Hedyot noted, if MO is going to rant at the Chareidim that they're not taking you seriously, then you have to answer a question: what's the difference between that and when the non-Orthodox complain that MO doesn't take them seriously?"
I think that point is really important. I thought of it as I was reading the post (before I got to the comments). On the one hand, you don't want to be looked at as less frum because to you, you are frum, but on the other, you're looking at others as less frum when to them, they are frum. I'm not saying people like R' Avi Weiss are doing things that are completely acceptable. But on the other hand, it's a double standard to complain about Yeshivish people feeling they are so much frummer than you and then you feeling you are so much frummer than people on the left.
The way you behave and feel about your own religious validity should not be based on what other people are doing, anyway. I don't feel insecure about my hashkafos and the way I practice Judaism and, therefore, I don't really care that some Yeshivish person might look down on me. I know I'm a frum person. I don't need the approval of everyone "to the right."
I think the bigger problem is that people assume that if you're in the Yeshivish community or you speak the lingo or you're a guy who has long payos and wears black and white and a hat or a girl in a beis yaakov uniform, etc. - that it means those people are "frummer." You don't know how they practice Judaism. They belong to a certain upbringing and philosophy, but that philosophy doesn't actually mean they behave in a "frummer" way than you. So they don't have TV in their homes. Okay. But maybe they are really rude or speak a lot of lashon hara. Or have no concept of kibud av va'em. Or anything. They have weaknesses and you have weaknesses and there is what to be learned from everyone, to the right of you AND to the left of you, both on how to behave AND how NOT to behave. Not having a TV in your home or not talking to boys or wearing a pleated black skirt does NOT make a person frummer.
Then again, I strongly dislike the mentality of, "Okay, so I don't keep the laws of tznius, but I'm a nice person which is more than can be said for you!" There has to be a balance there, too. You can't excuse skimping out on important areas of halacha just because you follow others well. Kudos to you for whichever areas of halacha you keep like they are second nature. However, that does not mean you should feel satisfied with your religious growth. We are obligated in ALL of halacha - not just ben adam l'chaveiro and not just ben adam l'makom. Judaism is a combination of the behavioral - honoring your parents, not speaking lashon hara, being respectful towards others - and of nitty-gritty details, such as dressing tzniusly (an area many girls take issue with in high school), what time of day certain mitzvos are to be performed, etc.
I've heard both sides: "Do you think God really cares if I cover my elbow or not? Or if I cover my hair? Or how much hair I actually cover? Do you think God really cares when or how I perform this mitzva? They're just semantics so that other people can feel superior and in control by telling you to do them. That's what's wrong with our religion." And there's also, "I follow halacha. What you're doing is not halacha. Very nice that you're nice to people, but anyone can be nice to people. I'm actually following halacha. Look at the way I dress, the way I shuckle when I daven. I'm super frum."
Both of these mentalities are wrong. Judaism is not about "do you think God cares?" It's not about making the religion more convenient for you. It's about how much you care. If there's someone you really respect, you would do things for that person, even if you weren't sure how much that person cared that you were doing those things, right? Look at the way fans treat celebrities.
At the same time, it's not about focusing so much on the measurements and details that you forget the bigger picture.
Judaism is both. It's about caring, it's about the big picture, it's about human relations, and it's also about the measurements, calculations, and little details. You should not have one without the other. Doing so would be lacking in your halachik observance.
What is important?
Following halacha, following the Torah, serving God.
We trip over ourselves because "following halacha" is so vague. What does it mean to follow halacha? Whose halacha? Which way of following halacha is acceptable? How far can you go before you're out of acceptable halachik bounds? And who decides that?
That's where the problems start, and then spiral out of control.
I have no answers. But I do think part of the problem with our perception of other Jews is that we tend to think of Judaism either like this:
Or like this:
With both diagrams depicting a linear ascent towards Torah and God. Either it's a ladder with Modernity at the bottom and Torah at the top so that those closer to Torah look down on those closer to Modernity, or it's a straight line with those on the right closer to Torah, while Modernity is all the way on the left.
But I think Judaism is more like this:
There are many ways to be a frum, Torah observant Jew. Notice that for each arrow, one can still be closer to Torah or further away, but there are equal points on each arrow. A person on one arrow and a person on another are coming at Torah from different ways, but are equidistant from it. So if one arrow was Modern Orthodoxy and another was Yeshivish Jews, a MO Jew and a Yeshivish Jew could both be equally as frum, or equally not as frum.
Of course, the diagram is not perfect. Not every path a person can take leads to Torah. And this is not a call for people to start wondering where certain groups in Judaism fall on these arrows.
It is a call for you to start wondering where you fall. And not to look at other people so much. Just because someone seems to be of a different camp does not mean that person is any more or less frum than you, and therefore you have no business judging anyone but yourself. If you work on your own religious observance, you will feel more religiously secure. And the more religiously secure you feel, the less you'll care about anyone "looking down" on you or "trying to change you." You'll just laugh at that because you'll have a feeling of shleimus that cannot be breached. Not by something so silly as someone else being too judgmental of you.
I believe so strongly what I say here because it is something I have struggled with in various aspects of my life - not just religion. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the less you'll care what anyone else thinks. It just won't matter.
So work on your own religious observance and stop looking at other people's. Stop looking at other people looking at you, as well. You'll be a lot happier.